For addiction sufferers, walking out the door of rehab with a recovery intact is a major accomplishment. However, it’s important they realize their recovery has just begun. In order to keep things going in the right direction, it’s incumbent on each person who is new to recovery to seek resources that will help them stay sober. For people with an alcohol addiction, Alcoholics Anonymous is one support resource worth considering.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was founded in 1935 by a gentleman named Bill Wilson. It occurred through a chance meeting he had with another individual who was suffering from the same disease he was suffering from, that being alcoholism. They began meeting with each other on a regular basis until others heard about what they were doing and offering. In the 85 years since, Alcoholics has been able to lay claim to helping hundreds of millions of alcohol addiction sufferers from all over the world.
The price of membership in AA is free. The only requirement placed on each member is they must have a desire to stop drinking and stay sober. Members are permitted to make a donation that goes towards meeting room rentals and AA literature.
As a member, each recovering alcohol addiction suffering is asked to eventually work the “Twelve Steps of Recovery” with a sponsor. The working of these steps is intended to release the recovering addiction sufferer from the guilt they feel over their behavior and give them a platform for helping others in the future.
How effective is Alcoholics Anonymous?
The titled question comes with a very simple answer. The mere fact AA has been around for 85 years, serving people all over the world serves as a testament to the program’s effectiveness. In a nutshell, AA is about one addiction sufferer in recovery helping a fellow who still struggles with the disease of alcoholism. There really is no better support resources than the man or woman who has walked the same plank and came out on the other end with a lasting recovery. Aside from providing support to one another, it’s the 12 Steps that provide a healing process. So, what are the 12 Steps of Recovery all about? If you were to read the 12 Steps, you would likely realize there are four basic tenets that drive the AA program. The four tenets include:
- Admitting powerlessness over the disease of addiction
- Taking responsibility for the harm caused to others by the addictive behavior
- Making amends to those harmed whenever possible
- Turning one’s faith towards a higher power
The first tenet is first for a reason. If the addiction sufferer can’t accept they are powerless over alcohol, temptation will eventually wear them down until they relapse. The second and third steps involve the addiction sufferer coming to terms with the notion they can arrest their addiction with the help of a higher power. AA is not a religious organization, though it operates with Christian values. A higher power simple refers to something the addiction sufferer can believe in when they need faith.
The next three steps center on taking responsibility for one’s behaviors. It’s no secret bad things happen when people have an addiction. Those bad things usually include hurting others. By taking responsibility for the harm they caused, it sets the stage for addiction sufferer to right wrongs.
The next three steps focus on making amends when possible. There are circumstances where is just not possible to make amends to someone who was harmed by the addiction sufferers’ addictive behavior. It’s unfortunate, but it happens. The stated goal of the third three tenets is to make the amends whenever possible. It’s really part of helping the addiction sufferer healing themselves.
The final three steps require the addiction sufferer to continue taking inventory of themselves and putting their faith in their higher power. It’s at this stage that members can start reaching out to help newer members. It’s this level of camaraderie and support that has made AA a tremendous success for so many years.
If you are new to recovery or simply need somewhere to go for help, AA is a good place to start. You will be warmly received by plenty of people just like you. When you are ready to get treatment, you should pick up the phone and call one of our representatives at 800-411-8019. This one simple phone call might well end up being the very call that saves your life. It’s that important of a call.